2001 Wyoming Harvest Success

Elkhunter

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HARVEST SUCCESS OFF SLIGHTLY IN 2001 FOR ALL BIG GAME BUT BIGHORN SHEEP

Contact: Jeff Obrecht
For Immediate Release

CHEYENNE – Big game harvest success in Wyoming, with the exception of bighorn sheep, dipped slightly in 2001, but still surpassed most other Rocky Mountain states and continues to be a testament of very good hunting, reports the Game and Fish Department.

Elk success was down from 44 percent in 2000 to 40 last season. Sixty-two percent of deer hunters loaded a carcass, compared to 63 in 2000. Antelope success dropped from 92 to 87 percent and moose 89 to 88 percent, from statistics recently compiled from hunter surveys.

Bighorn sheep success jumped 7 percent to 77 percent last hunting season.

“Considering drought and less than optimum hunting conditions with warm dry weather and lack of snow, these are still results Wyoming can be proud of,” said Harry Harju, G&F assistant wildlife division chief.

Wyoming’s 10-year harvest success averages: antelope 105 percent (multiple licenses can be held), deer 59 percent, elk 39 percent, moose 89 percent and bighorn sheep 69 percent.

In 2001, elk hunters averaged 19 days afield for each elk harvested, up two days from last year, but two days less than 1999. Despite the dip, harvest success was also better than 1999’s 36 percent.

“If we’d ever get a snowy fall again, I think we could see elk success hit 50 percent in Wyoming,” Harju said.

Last season, 22,772 elk were brought home by Wyoming hunters, 1,045 less than 2000.

Last year 21 percent of Colorado hunters bagged an elk and 64 percent of South Dakota hunters. 2000 statistics were the latest available in Montana at 20 percent, Utah 27 percent and Idaho 31 percent (limited draw areas).

Deer hunters made a valiant try at making success climb for the fifth year in a row, by just missing the 63 percent tallied in 2000. “When you consider most of our seasons are still ‘bucks only,’ and fewer yearling bucks due to a drop in fawn recruitment in 2000, this was pretty good hunting” he said.

Wyoming’s 62 percent deer hunting success compares to 42 percent in Colorado, South Dakota 51 percent and Nebraska 55 percent. In 2000, Montana boosted 68 percent and 38 percent in Utah.

The avid hunter and 30-year G&F veteran says psychology has played a role in the deer harvest comeback. “Hearing encouraging reports from friends is causing deer hunters, particularly residents, to go afield with greater optimism and confidence,” he said. “With that mindset, residents are hunting harder, and hence harvesting more deer.”

Antelope success dropped for the second consecutive year, falling to 87 percent from 91.5 in 2000. The total number of licenses were cut in 2001 by 25 percent. “You can tell antelope densities are down when the average time it takes hunters to harvest an antelope is over 2.5 days,” Harju said.

He says psychology might also be playing a part in the antelope drop. “When they hear the population is down, some hunters get more selective in what they shoot and are less inclined to shoot a doe,” Harju said. He said the drop in doe/fawn licenses also gave fewer hunters the opportunity to shoot extra animals, which depressed success.

Of the neighboring states with antelope stats available for 2001, Colorado reported 61 percent success, Nebraska 69 percent and South Dakota 70 percent.

The overall 2001 moose harvest success of 88 percent is consistent with the high harvest success of past years (89 percent in 2000). “With hot weather early in the season causing a big black animal like a moose to seek the shade of dense timber, I’m surprised the success didn’t drop more,” Harju said.

In 2001, Montana supported 82 percent success and Colorado 87 percent.

Bighorn sheep success rose to 77 percent from 70 percent last year. “We manage sheep very conservatively so we expect good success,” he said. This year’s success may have slightly been bolstered by area 9 not being factored into the results. Area 9, which usually has about 50 percent harvest success, was closed in 2001due to wildfires.

Montana, which has some general license bighorn sheep areas, tallied 56 percent and Colorado 56 percent.

At this juncture, Harju has a mixed forecast about the 2002 season. “With some good early snow, we could have a banner elk season,” he predicts. “But another poor year of deer and fawn recruitment, which is very possible due to drought, will set back hunting in upcoming years. Parts of Wyoming need a lot of moisture and right now.”

Wyoming harvest statistics are compiled from surveys mailed to hunters. The 2001 Big Game Harvest Report will be available in August from the G&F for $10.

Victoria Clingman, the G&F’s wildlife statistician, says the 2001 harvest survey is an accurate and timely report thanks to assistance of hunters across the continent. “The percent of hunters responding by Internet has been doubling every year and was up to 30 percent for this survey,” she said. “That trend is great, because it’s saving money.”

She said the surveys are often accompanied by a wide-range of hunting comments. “This year a common theme was how the Sept. 11 national tragedy impacted their hunts,” Clingman said.

Hunters that would like to know the success rate in a hunt area before applying for elk, deer and antelope, can call the G&F at (800) 842-1934. All resident applications must arrive at the Cheyenne office by 5 p.m. May 31.


-WGFD-
 

Wyodeerhunter

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PW,

Herds look great so far, I'll be sure to post some pics of some nice bucks and bulls I find while scouting.
 

ELKCHSR

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These success rates would be better if a lot of the individuals hunting would get out of their trucks and do a little walking. The animals when it's hot, hide up in the green areas well away from the throngs and masses of people. When the regions are wetter and more water is to be found. They will spread out more and be easier to find... :D
 

Wyodeerhunter

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The hunter success isn't totally accurate anyhow. I know several hunters(including me) that passed on dozens of bucks hoping for a big one and ending up not getting one. Same almost went for elk, saw cow elk almost daily, could of blasted one of those.

PW- Did you put in for Wy again?
 

josh

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Dec 20, 2000
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MN
I agree....Statistics are interesting but sometimes dont tell the whole story.
My brother and I also struck out in WY last fall.....We saw a lot of deer, but nothing that blew my skirt up. Saw some real pretty country and had a good time.
Going home empty is a reality a lot of the time the more fussy you get.
 

PotatoWhisperer

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YH,
There should be left over tags available. Didn't get the first draw, but will try to get the second. We're looking into going further east, over by Lusk.
 
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